Actor, Singer, Comedian. Currently stars on hit TV series Nashville

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Charles “Chip” Esten grew up in Alexandria, VA.  After starting his acting career in Los Angeles, he was pleased to make his theatrical debut in London, portraying Buddy Holly in the hit West End musical “Buddy.” In that role, he was honored to perform for H.R.M Queen Elizabeth and then, for President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush at both The Kennedy Center and The White House.

Esten currently stars in the hit television series “NASHVILLE” in the role of Deacon Claybourne.  While on "Nashville”, Esten has been honored to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Blue Bird Café, headlining a St. Jude Country Music Marathon Concert at the Bridgestone Arena, and performing on the CMA Fest Riverfront Stage.  In addition, he has starred in the 2014, 2015 , and 2016 “NASHVILLE in Concert” tour with sold out shows across the US and the UK.  

He is a featured artist on the nine very successful "Nashville" soundtracks that have been released to date, two of which include “I Know How to Love You Now” which he co-wrote with Deana Carter. Esten has long contemplated releasing an album or an EP of his originals.  Last summer, he decided that instead, he will be releasing brand new singles “every single Friday.”  The #EverySingleFriday series began in July 2016 and Esten says will last until he “runs out of music.”

He is proud to serve as the National Light the Night Walk Honorary Chair for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Esten and his wife have two daughters and a son.

Project Manager, CSL International

Adam Kerns serves as a Project Manager with Conventions, Sports & Leisure International and brings more than 12 years of sports industry experience.  Prior to joining CSL, Mr. Kerns worked in the media relations departments for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, serving as a statistical analyst and media liaison. Over the past 9 years, Mr. Kerns has completed over 200 consulting engagements for a variety of sports and entertainment sectors, including professional sports franchises, collegiate athletic departments, municipalities and public authorities, investment banks, and private real estate developers. Mr. Kerns has comprehensive experience providing a variety of research and advisory services, including market and financial feasibility, primary and secondary market research and analysis, economic and fiscal impact analyses, facility funding analysis, and management structure recommendations and analysis. In 2015, Mr. Kerns was a featured presenter at the Goldman Sachs Business of Football Conference in London, which discussed the current state of stadium development in Europe and the impacts associated with new facilities.  Mr. Kerns received his Master of Arts in Athletic Administration from the University of Iowa in 2006 and his Bachelor of Arts in Health & Sport Studies / Communication Studies from the University of Iowa in 2005.

President & CEO, Nashville Symphony

Alan D. Valentine joined the Nashville Symphony as its President and CEO in June 1998. Since then, he has presided over an unprecedented period of growth at the Symphony, highlighted by a total of 11 GRAMMY® Awards and 20 GRAMMY® nominations; 30 highly regarded and best-selling CD releases on the Naxos, Decca and New West labels; a total of nine national television broadcasts, one of which won an Emmy Award; multiple national radio appearances, including the internationally syndicated radio series American Encores; a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut and sold-out East Coast tour in September 2000; two consecutive and very successful capital and endowment campaigns in which a total of $145 million was raised; and the construction of the world-class, acoustically superb Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in September 2006.

Valentine currently serves on the Steering Committee for Nashville's Agenda. He is a former member of the boards of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Nashville Chapter), the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Arts Coalition, the Association of Non-Profit Executives, Center for Nonprofit Management, Nashville Downtown Partnership and the Nashville City Club.

Venue Manager, Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center

Alex Keen is the Venue Manager of the Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center. Alex supervised the final construction and grand opening of the MCC Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2014 and currently oversees front-of-house and technical operations for 200+ events and productions per year in the facility. Alex worked on 20+ productions at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine including technical direction of Damn Yankees, South Pacific and Miss Saigon. He served as an Adjunct Faculty member and Technical Coordinator for 15+ productions at Scottsdale Community College. Alex is an ETCP Certified Rigger – Theatre, NFPA Rope Rescue Technician Level I/II, and is a graduate of IAVM Venue Management School. He is active with IAVM and serves on the IAVM Venue Safety and Security Committee as well as the IAVM University Committee.

Alex holds a Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies from Arizona State University (Summa Cum Laude) and completed a season-long Production Apprenticeship at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Security Management from the University of Denver.

Chief Executive Officer, Visual Labs, Inc.

Alex Popof is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Visual Labs, Inc., a Silicon Valley‐based software company that calls itself “the body camera company that does not make body cameras.” The company had its beginnings while Alex was attending Stanford University when he and a team of other computer science majors worked on a smartphone-based video solution as part of a senior project. After graduation, the project was continued as part of the Lightspeed Venture Partners summer fellowship program and Visual Labs, Inc. was formed. Since then, Visual Labs has acquired clients in multiple states in the public safety, private security and industrial sectors. In 2016, Alex was a speaker for the International Association of Chiefs of Police Communications and Technology Committee with a presentation titled “Technology Trends for Body Worn Cameras.” Alex received his Bachelor of Science degree from Stanford University with a major in computer science and a minor in economics. He is also a recipient of Stanford’s Terman scholastic award, which recognizes the top five percent of seniors in the School of Engineering.

Booking Director, VStar Entertainment Group

Amy Rahja brings nearly 20 years of industry experience to her role as Booking Director for VSTAR Entertainment Group. Amy began her career as a marketing professional for Detroit’s Olympia Entertainment and moved to Minneapolis in 2003 to work for VEE Corporation (now VSTAR). In addition to working as a promoter for VEE, the move to Minneapolis provided the opportunity to further build her marketing and booking skills working with companies like Clear Channel Entertainment, Sue McLean & Associates, The Historic Theatre Group and Mr. Chan Presents. She then spent 4 years as a Booking Director for Feld Entertainment before joining VSTAR in July of 2016. When not working, Amy enjoys live music events, spending time with her family and spoiling her 11-year-old German Shepherd Mix, Stella.

EVP, Partner, Venue Coalition, Inc

Andrew Prince has extensive experience in various roles within the live touring industry, most notably as promoter, producer, talent buyer and venue booking representative. He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of Venue Coalition and is focused on identifying new business and programming opportunities for its member venues. Andrew has played a key role in the in the growth and development of Venue Coalition since its inception. He is also a graduate of IAVM's Venue Management School and has a great passion for live events and confirming shows!

Sr. Director of Booking, VStar Entertainment Group

Andriana Magness has been bringing family entertainment to venues for the past 11 years as Senior Director of Booking for VEE Corporation, now known has VSTAR Entertainment.   Prior to joining VSTAR in 2005, Andriana started out in the Classical Music industry, with gigs at the Minnesota Orchestra, ICM Artists (aka Opus 3), and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO.  When she’s not working with the Paw Patrol pups, Curious George, and Dinosaurs, Andriana is busy carting her 8-year-old and almost 6-year-old to soccer, skiing, piano, swimming, and gymnastics!

Director of Event Experiences, Spectra Venue Management at the St. Charles Convention Center

Angie started at the St. Charles Convention Center as an Event Manager in 2007 and was promoted to Director in 2011. When asked her favorite thing about her job, Angie replied, "Constantly learning. There is always something new in our ever-changing industry." Angie loves that the staff at the convention center are like her family and explains, "Everyone will jump in and bring you up if you are down as well as offer up different perspectives and ideas." Angie is currently serving as the Region 3 Director of IAVM and sits on the Executive Committee. She lives for weekends at the Lake of the Ozarks and loves watching her kids grow, learn and experience life.

President, West Wing Events

Antwone Stigall, CMP is an award-winning and credentialed event planner with more than 10+ years of experience in strategic meetings & events management. Antwone started his career managing and producing events at a mega church in Memphis, TN where he quickly learned the art and science of programming environments for effective and impactful experiences, He’s since then taken that learning to newer heights everywhere he goes. Now serving as Chief Events Officer of Antwone Stigall & Co. (formerly known as West Wing Events), Antwone spends his days helping clients achieve maximum potential for their programs while also teaching Meeting and Event planning courses and industry certification courses to seasoned, mid-career, and aspiring event professionals.  In his spare time, Antwone proudly serves as the International Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force for Meeting Professionals International, he’s a member of the Shelby County Mayor’s Young Professionals Council, and volunteers as a mentor to several youth nonprofit organizations. Beloved Son, Favorite Uncle, Pesky Big Brother, and Loving Godfather – Antwone’s family is proud of the work being established on the Stigall family’s name and hopes that he can make the professionals of this industry just as proud of that work as well.

Assistant General Manager, Arena Operations, Sacramento Kings

Aran Rush is entering his third season with the Sacramento Kings as the Assistant General Manager for Arena Operations.  Rush provides day-to-day direction of facility programming, maintenance and operations of Golden 1 Center.

Golden 1 Center opened in October of 2016 as the first LEED Platinum Sports Venue in the World.  Golden 1 Center was named Sports Facility of Year by the 2017 Sports Business Awards.   Fast Company named the Sacramento Kings the Most Innovative Company in Sports for 2017.

Rush has a Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Facility Management, a Master of Science degree from St. Thomas University in Sports Administration and a certificate in executive leadership from Cornell University.  He is graduate of the Oglebay Facility Management School.

Executive Director, California Fair Services Authority

Becky Bailey-Findley has been the Executive Director for California Fair Services Authority (CFSA) since 2012, a joint powers authority that delivers efficient and cost-effective risk management, insurance and business solutions to California fairs. Bailey-Findley provides leadership and experience that help the authority and its member fairs face critical challenges and threats in the fair industry. In particular she works with member fairs on strategic planning, CEO training and board development.

Prior to joining CFSA, Bailey-Findley spent 22 years with the OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) where she held numerous management positions prior to her appointment to CEO in 1994, a position she held for 15 years. In that role, the OC Fair grew to an annual budget of $28 million and expanded to a 21-day event with annual attendance exceeding one million guests. The OCFEC became an active and vital event center hosting more than 150 shows and events annually.

Bailey-Findley believes her real strength is in community service and leadership. She currently serves at the Board Chair for Girl Scouts of Orange County and has served on a variety of nonprofit boards and committees within the California fair industry. She was inducted into the Western Fairs Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

Vice-President, Event Marketing & Sales, Southern Region, FELD Entertainment

Feld Entertainment and Motorsports is the largest live touring family entertainment and motor sports company in the world. As a VP of Event Marketing and Sales, Bill Powell currently manages the business of bringing live motor sports and entertainment events to major markets in the Southern U.S. Additionally he manages the event marketing and serves on the strategic committee for Monster Energy Supercross and Amsoil Arenacross.

Early in his career Bill was responsible for Feld Entertainment’s international expansion into the Latin American entertainment market having pioneered the introduction of Disney on IceSM , Feld Motorsports and Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey®, into Mexico, Spain and eight countries in South America. Recently, he helped shape Feld Entertainment's expansion towards incorporating analytics into its annual business process.

On the live event industry level Bill is actively involved with the International Association of Venue Managers. He currently serves on the trade association’s Industry Affairs Council and is past chairman of the board of trustees for the IAVM Foundation. Additionally, Bill has served as adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management where he helped develop the curriculum for live entertainment marketing.

On a community level Bill is active in raising funds and awareness for Tampa General Hospital Foundation and the Circus Ring of Fame Board of Directors in Sarasota, Florida.

In his spare time, Bill is a fitness enthusiast, avid cyclist, mountaineer and expert skier. He has completed successful summits of Mt. Rainier and Grand Teton. Bill and his wife Sherry (CMO for the Florida Orchestra) reside in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

Chief Project Development Officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Air Canada Centre

From Toronto to Vancouver and back again, Robert (Bob) Hunter has spent his entire career marketing and managing some of Canada’s premier sports and entertainment facilities. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Hunter attended the University of Waterloo where he obtained his Honours Bachelor of Science degree and then attended graduate school at the University of Washington, Seattle specializing in Sports Medicine.

Hunter started his career at the harbourfront entertainment complex, “Ontario Place” in Toronto. In 1982, he left to open the 60,000 seat BC Place Stadium in Vancouver where, he was responsible for all event services, production and facilities management.

In 1985, he moved to the Expo ’86 Vancouver World’s Fair management team with a mandate to construct and develop British Columbia’s pavilions. Following construction of this $145 million entertainment complex, Hunter then managed the property throughout the six-month Fair.

Hunter returned to Toronto in early 1987 to work on the $600M SkyDome Stadium project as Vice President of Operations and Fan Services. After five years with SkyDome (now renamed Rogers Centre), Hunter was promoted to President and CEO.

In 1994, Hunter joined PROFAC Management Group as President and CEO. This firm was responsible for providing real estate investment and facility management services for large Canadian corporations.

In January 1998, Hunter returned to the sports and entertainment industry as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Canada’s newest arena, Air Canada Centre, home of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA Toronto Raptors. Now 15 years later, the arena is still annually ranked in the top three busiest entertainment venues in North America. In addition to Air Canada Centre, Hunter also oversaw management and bookings for Ricoh Coliseum (home to the AHL Toronto Marlies) and BMO Field Soccer Stadium (home to MLS’s Toronto FC).

In 2014, Bob’s focus changed with his new position of Chief Project Development Officer. In this role, Bob manages major business and project opportunities as well as all annual capital projects for all Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment venues. Currently he is overseeing over $200M in projects for the company including a $135M renovation to BMO Field, home of MLS’s Toronto FC.

Bob currently serves on the Boards of Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Toronto Entertainment District Business Improvement Association and the Deans Advisory Council at the University of Waterloo. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the University of Waterloo, Trillium Health Centre Foundation, Tourism Toronto and the Board of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). Also with IAVM, he has served as Chair of the Arenas Committee, Vice Chair on both the Certified Facility Executive Board and the IAVM Foundation. He also lectures annually at the IAVM Venue Management School.

In 2007, he was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Waterloo. In the same year, he was recognized as one of the Top 50 Alumni on the occasion of the University of Waterloo’s 50th Anniversary. He currently sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

Hunter is an avid squash player and golfer.

Columnist, "Inside Nashville", The Tennessean

Brad Schmitt writes the Inside Nashville column for The Tennessean, getting powerful, personal stories from Music City's movers and shakers. Olympic ice skating champ Scott Hamilton has told Brad about adopting children from Haiti. Mt. Zion Baptist Church’s Bishop Joseph Walker shared the painful story of his first wife’s deadly battle with cancer. Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall revealed that he once found himself in the back of a police car when Hall was a teen. Brad comes to the job with his own story. He spent 12 years writing celebrity column “Brad About You” for The Tennessean before joining WKRN-News 2 as an entertainment reporter. During his TV reporter days, Brad was convicted twice in three years for drunken driving. Brad got fired, and he went to jail and rehab before getting into recovery from substance abuse in 2010. The Tennessean offered the “Inside Nashville” column to Brad four years later. Since then, Brad tries to bring the same authenticity and vulnerability he uses in recovery to his columns.

Creative Director, Project Development, BRC Imagination Arts

Brad Shelton is a creative leader who transforms the aspirations of clients into exceptional projects. As an expert at practical, hands-on project development, Brad has overseen the project development of entire theme parks, entertainment resorts, attractions, media and sports experiences, and urban retail/entertainment/dining districts, while, at the same time, serving as a writer and Creative Director on projects in the United States, China, Dubai, South Korea, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. 

Brad has created work for the Milwaukee Brewers including The Selig Experience at Miller Park, The Ryman Auditorium, the Dreamworks Animation Park, Hainan Space Park, Royal Caribbean Cruise Airlines, Magic Planet, The Grand Ole Opry and more.

Brad’s experience comes in many different entertainment forms from story structure and screenwriting to live production and theater to management and fundraising. In the theater, Brad worked as a producer and director around the world for over a decade, including productions in Arezzo, Italy and Cairo, Egypt, with the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York City, and award-winning productions in Chicago, New York City, North Carolina and Los Angeles. 

A native of East Tennessee, Brad is a graduate of Rhodes College and the American Repertory Theater’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

Director of Sports & Entertainment, Johnson Consulting

Brandon specializes in market and financial analysis for public assembly facilities, with specialized expertise in financial modeling, market research, data analytics and industry best practices. He is also experienced in economic and fiscal impact analysis and has assisted cities and communities in their application for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and other public funding.

Since joining Johnson Consulting in 2008, Brandon has completed over 75 public assembly facility feasibility studies. His most recent achievements as a sports consultant came in 2015 with the successful opening of four sports facilities in which he served as lead feasibility consultant, including three collegiate facilities and one minor league ballpark, resulting in over $200 million in successful development.  Brandon led an economic and fiscal impact analysis, as well as a community improvement district revenue study, on behalf of the St. Louis Blues for the recently approved $130 million renovation of the Scottrade Center.  He also led the feasibility analysis for a $200 million, 19,000 seat arena which was just approved by the City of Virginia Beach and is expected to break ground later this year. Additionally, the feasibility analysis he led for the University of Louisville and the proposed premium seating mix of the $60 million expansion to Papa John’s Stadium is outpacing original projections and it expected to be complete by opening day 2018, one year in advance.

Brandon is affiliated with several industry associations and has been invited to speak at past events. He currently serves as a stadium committee member for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).

He holds a Bachelor degree in Business and Urban Planning from Arizona State University and resides in Chicago, IL.

Agent, CAA

Brian Hill has been an agent for nearly 25 years. He loves the clients and his coworkers at CAA but would much rather talk about his awesome wife and four nearly-perfect children.

Principal, Event Partnership

In 1995 Brian, began his career in the professional sports industry with the Golden State Warriors. Several years later he transitioned to a position with the Sacramento Kings selling Corporate Sponsorships, a move that allowed him to hone his craft and cement his reputation as an astute sales and marketing professional. In 2001, Brian re-focused his career by looking outside of the professional sports industry and founded Honebein & Associates. That very same year he was awarded the contract to sell sponsorships for the California State Fair, as well as several other events throughout Northern California. These early ventures proved tremendously successful, and provided Brian with a solid foundation upon which he’s built throughout his career; in January 2012 the rapid growth of his business necessitated re-branding and Event Partnership, LLC was established.

Brian is very innovative, energetic and passionate about his career in sales and marketing. He’s highly regarded and trusted as a resource for event sponsorship and has conducted seminars for CalFest and the Western Fair Association Annual Conference and Managers Conference. Through the duration of his seventeen year sponsorship sales career, he has sold well over $53,000,000 in corporate sponsorships—an impressive figure that’s truly a testament to his tireless work ethic.

General Manager, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Brian Sipe has been the General Manager of the SMG-managed Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA since October 2014. Since his time in Wilkes-Barre, the Arena has hosted sold-out concerts from Blake Shelton to Amy Schumer to Barry Manilow, two rallies with now President Donald Trump, record breaking Feld Entertainment shows and two sold-out WWE Television events among many other events. The arena is also home to the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Previous to Wilkes-Barre, Brian managed the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, WV which was nominated twice for an ACM Venue of the Year award and where he was a recipient of the Venues Today Generation Next Award. Sipe somehow convinced his lovely wife Kaitlyn to marry him and loves his dog Kooshball!

Senior Vice President, Branch Administration, Contemporary Services Corporation

Bruce Wagner began his CSC career in the early 1980’s. In 1990, he was promoted to Manager of Event Staff Operations at the Hollywood Bowl. During this time, Bruce was also the General Manager for CSC’s affiliate company, Crowd Management Inc., where he managed the ushers, ticket takers and gate stub audits at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles Sports Arena, and Rose Bowl Stadium.

Bruce relocated to Nashville in 1996 in order to serve as Branch Manager for CSC’s newest location, which continues to thrive today. CSC Nashville clients currently include Gaylord Entertainment Center, Titans Coliseum, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, and MTSU. Bruce was promoted to Vice President of Operations and Regional Manager in 2000. It was also in 2000 that Bruce received CSC’s Branch Manager of the Year Award for his exemplary leadership and success in the Nashville branch office. Bruce continues to travel throughout the U.S. in order to oversee CSC’s operations and to assist with staff training and the opening of new offices and venues. Bruce attended Santa Ana College in California.

Agent, CAA

Bryan began his career in music after moving to Nashville in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Business, Recording, and Production from The University of Alabama and an Associate degree in Recording Engineering from Full Sail University. In 1998, he was invited to help grow the Contemporary Christian music roster for CAA. More than 19 years later, he and his team enjoy working alongside some of the biggest artists in the genre including Chris Tomlin, Tobymac, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Danny Gokey, Passion, and many others. For two years, Bryan sat on the board of Porter’s Call, a counseling service for musicians who make their living on the road. He is also closely involved with Food For The Hungry in helping end poverty around the world and has been to Ethiopia and the Dominican Republic to further those efforts.

Manager of Festival Success, TicketFly

With over 13 years of experience in the industry, Cassie knows how to ticket an event. She began as a box office manager, later moving to Ticketmaster to represent a variety of festival, amphitheater, arena, club, and comedy events. She soon came to specialize in her true passion, music festivals, with work on events such as Outside Lands, Treasure Island, and Life is Beautiful. Eager to continue pursuing this market, Cassie came to Ticketfly to lead the growing Festival Success team.

Cassie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Industry from California State University, Chico. Aside from her work with Ticketfly’s festival partners, she has also spoken on Wild Oak Records’ Oakstock music industry panel and has lectured as part of the Bay Area Professional Ticketing Association’s professional development series.

Director of Public Safety, Nashville Predators

Chad Ludkey is the Director of Public Safety for the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena. He is responsible for the 24/7 security operation of the facility as well as the security for all events held at the arena. He joined the Predators organization in 2015 and was responsible for security oversight of the 2016 NHL All Star Game, the first ever all-star game held at the arena. He received the NCS4 2016 Industry Leader Under 40 Award from the NHL. Bridgestone Arena also received the NCS4 2017 Facility of Merit award for safety and security from the NHL. Chad has been in the events and security industry since 1998 and has held positions with the Houston Astros, University of Phoenix Stadium, Rose Quarter and the Arizona State University Athletic Department.

VP, Communications and Strategic Client Solutions, The Expo Group

Dana has worked in the trade show space for 16 years, all the while growing The Expo Group. She has a passion for creating fascinating experiences born in her days working at Disneyland and a solid communications background forged in the newspaper industry. She earned bachelor of arts degrees in journalism and in history from Southern Methodist University. Dana loves community building, finding innovative solutions, Pittsburgh sports teams, margaritas and improv comedy.

Sports Architect, Heery International

Dane is responsible for design, production, and development of athletic facility projects. He is involved in all phases of the design and construction process and has in-depth experience in facilitating design from abstract concepts to construction documentation. Dane is leading the charge as the Project for the redevelopment and repurposing of Turner Field into GSU Stadium. He has been intimately involved from the initial feasibility studies through project implementation for Phase I. Dane has immersed himself in the culture and identity of Panthers Athletics in order to ensure that the design achieves the project goals.

Dane has a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Georgia Tech and a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Florida. He has worked on 25+ sports projects across the country.

CEO, National Shows 2 (NS2)

Darin Lashinsky, a Los Angeles native and third generation concert promoter, is the CEO of National Shows 2, LLC (NS2). In 1998, Lashinsky helped launch Outback Concerts and later became the Sr. Vice President until he left in 2010 to form NS2 with business partners Larry and Fred Frank, of Frank Productions, Inc. Prior to his 12-year stint at Outback Concerts, Lashinsky spent 6 years working at his father’s Nashville based concert promotion company. NS2 pays homage to the original National Shows, which was owned and operated by his late father, Philip, and uncle Gary. Lashinsky has promoted artists of all music genres including: Kings of Leon, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Avenged Sevenfold, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Zac Brown Band, Metallica, John Prine, Green Day, Motley Crue, The Black Keys, Dolly Parton, Jason Isbell, KISS and many more. NS2, together with partner Frank Productions, Inc. of Madison, WI, has promoted numerous artist’s arena tours throughout the country including: Brantley Gilbert, Eric Church, Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Cage the Elephant, KISS and Shinedown/Breaking Benjamin. Lashinsky served on the Country Music Association Board of Directors in 2013 and 2014 and currently serves on the IEBA Board of Directors. He has been nominated four times for the Academy of Country Music “Promoter of the Year Award,” as well as the “Pollstar Bill Graham Promoter of the Year Award” from 2011-2016. He was also nominated for the International Entertainment Buyers Association “Promoter of the Year” award from 2012-2015 and received the award in 2016. Lashinsky is a 2006 Leadership Music alumnus and he participates each year in various panel discussions for conferences such as IEBA, Pollstar, IAVM, Leadership Music and Billboard. Lashinsky continues to be active in the community and supports several charitable and non-profit organizations, including the Nashville Humane Association. Darin and son Philip, currently live in Brentwood, TN.

Senior Correspondent, Billboard

After a decade as an award-winning reporter and managing editor for trade publication Venues Today, Dave ventured out on his own in 2014 to start Amplify, a member-driven news service covering the live music and concert industry. In 2015 he created The Real in Pollstar, building the magazine's first and most widely read column dedicated to investigative journalism. In 2017, Dave joined forces with Billboard, the world’s largest music brand, where today he works as a senior correspondent while continuing to oversee the editorial management and day-to-day responsibilities of Amplify Media. He lives in Long Beach, Calif., with his wife Kristen, son Wesley and dog Bandit. Dave is a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz.

Event and Facility Operations Manager, Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment

David Bennett is the Event and Facility Operations Manager for Kennesaw State University’s Department of Sports and Entertainment. He supervises event logistics, facility operations, and security management for multiple venues across two campuses, including the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park and Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Regular events include KSU Football, Soccer, and Lacrosse, Major League Lacrosse (Atlanta Blaze), Concerts, Tournaments, and Festivals. Prior to working at Kennesaw State, David served as the Associate Director of Facilities and Operations at Clemson University, and the Technical Operations Coordinator at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David holds both a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Master of Business Administration from Clemson University. He recently earned the Certified Venue Professional designation and was recognized as a member of the International Association of Venue Manager’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2016. David is also a graduate of IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security, and is active on the University Committee.

Senior Director of Operations, AT&T Center

David has been in the facility management industry for over 30 years and is currently the Senior Director of Operations at the Spurs Sports and Entertainment’s AT&T Center in San Antonio. Before coming to the AT&T Center in 2015, David was the Director of Operations at the SMG Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City and SMG’s Regional Director of Operations for the Central Region. David began his career as the Building Manager of the Mabee Center on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK where he also oversaw 30 other university facilities as the VP for Operations. After leaving ORU, David worked three years as the CFO of LeSEA Global Feed the Hungry, an international charity, and the LeSEA Radio/Television Broadcast Network in South Bend, Indiana. David has a degree in Telecommunication and a Master’s degree in Business Finance. Over the years, he has also worked part time as a Site Manager and Production Coordinator for Encore Productions for Promise Keeper stadium events, concerts, and trade shows.

David has been a member of IAVM for over 30 years representing District VI as their Vice President, being on the Board of Trustees for the IAVM Foundation, and earning his CFE. David also has certifications from IFMA as a Facility Management Professional (FMP) and Sustainability Facility Manager (SFP). David and Elizabeth have four sons and one grandson.

Agent, WME IMG

David Huntzinger is a WME IMG agent who spearheads talent representation for esports clients while working with some of the largest professional gaming teams, broadcasters, and influencers in the space. In his role, he sits at the intersection of esports and traditional entertainment by developing the brand equity and content strategy of clients, as well as packaging content for distribution across all forms of media. By leveraging his background in music booking, Huntzinger utilizes a comprehensive understanding of traditional forms of entertainment and events to develop the future of esports. As a lifelong gamer, he grew up experiencing the successes and pitfalls of the esports industry’s early development and seeks to marry that knowledge with his professional experience.

Huntzinger graduated with a BBA in Brand Engagement and Promotions from Baylor University and currently resides in Los Angeles. In his free time, he likes to watch baseball to try to relive his college glory days as well as climb the League of Legends and Counter-Strike competitive ladders.

SVP of Booking, Bridgestone Arena / Nashville Predators

David Kells (Twitter: @DKnaround) has been with Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Predators since 2005. During his tenure he has served as the Conversion Manager, Event Manager, Director of Marketing and is currently the Senior Vice President of Booking.

David quickly developed a passion for live entertainment after working his first concert at the age of 18. Over the course of his career he has worked for SFX Entertainment, Great Big Shows, and AC Entertainment. David has been involved in producing such festivals as Dancin' In the District (Nashville, TN), Nashville River Stages (Nashville, TN), Sundown in the City (Knoxville, TN), Sewanee Bound Music Festival (Live Oak, FL) and Birmingham City Stages (Birmingham, AL).

In addition to helping oversee Bridgestone Arena’s rise to one of the top venues in the U.S. and the 2014 Pollstar Arena of the Year award, Kells has received personal recognition for his hard work in the industry. Most recently, Kells was named the International Arena Buyers Association’s Venue Executive of the Year and nominated for Pollstar’s Facility Executive of the Year. A lover of hockey from a young age, David’s hockey career peaked in 1980 when he received the Most Improved Player Award from the Massena Minor Hockey Association.

David is a proud resident of Inglewood, where he resides with his wife Lucy and daughter Kathryn.

Event Services Supervisor, 22nd DAA/San Diego County Fairgrounds

Dennis Robbins has been in the Event Industry for 28 years. He worked at the San Diego Convention Center as a Senior Event Manager. The last 17 years he has worked at the Del Mar Fairgrounds as the Event Services Supervisor, supervising Five Event Managers.

Senior Associate AD/Chief of Staff, Athletics Department, Georgia State University

Doug Justice joined the Georgia State Athletics Department in September 2014 and serves as Senior Associate A.D. and Chief of Staff. Previously Justice spent nine years as an athletics staff member at Appalachian State working closely with current Georgia State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb. He started at Appalachian State in 2006 as director of game operations and was promoted to Assistant AD/Chief of Staff in 2012. In 2014, he was promoted to associate athletics director.

In that role, Justice oversaw Appalachian State's game operations, strength and conditioning, athletic training and team services. He also served as the administrator for wrestling and men's and women's basketball.

Prior to his arrival at Appalachian State, Justice was a four-year football letterwinner at North Carolina from 2002 to 2005. To cap his career, Justice became the first football student-athlete in North Carolina history to earn academic All-ACC recognition four times. Justice graduated from UNC in 2005 after majoring in communications and psychology. He earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Appalachian State in 2009.

A native of Manheim, Pa., Justice is married to the former Erin Griswold. Together they have two sons: Kevin and Eliott.

Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Convention Center

Ellen Schwartz, Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Convention Center (managed by AEG Facilities) is a dynamic industry professional with more than 40 years in the trade show and events industry. Schwartz has been part of the AEG team since October 2013 helping to lead the successful transition from public to private management of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Ellen joined LACC as the VP Sales and Marketing and became the AGM in July 2016. Prior to joining AEG, Ellen served as Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center/SMG and prior to that, Schwartz served as Director of Sales for the Miami Beach Convention Center/SMG. Before heading to the facility side of the business, Schwartz was the Vice President and Show Manager for the Woodworking, Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair for over 8 years and grew the show to over 300,000 net sq. ft. and 18,000 attendees.

In her tenure at Centers, Ellen has contributed to many high profile events including the inaugural Microsoft Global Briefing, E3, the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Emmy and Grammy Events, Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, International Salon and Spa Expo, TED and numerous other large trade association, corporate and consumer events.

In 2015, Ellen received the Outstanding Achievement in Marketing and Sales award from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). Her leadership within the industry includes currently sitting on the PCMA task force on exhibitions, Board Member of the National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS), and past service on the board of the local chapter of IAEE and participating in various industry organizations and tradeshows (IAVM, PCMA, ASAE, MPI).

Sr. Director of Logistics and GA Dome Events, Georgia World Congress Center Authority

Erik Waldman, was recently promoted to the Senior Director of Logistics and Georgia Dome Events for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) on January 4, 2016. In his role, he is overseeing event operations for the final year of the Georgia Dome in addition to Public Safety and Logistics for the GWCCA. Prior to his promotion, Erik started with the GWCCA as Director of Event Operations with the Georgia Dome in December of 2011. Prior to joining the GWCCA, Erik was the Vice President and General Manager of the BankAtlantic Center (now BB&T Center) in Sunrise, Florida. Erik received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administrations with a major in General Management & a minor in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in August of 2002. His career started at the Orlando Arena in 1998 as the Zamboni driver for the Or-lando Solar Bears of the International Hockey League. In 2002, Erik worked as an event coordina-tor for the UCF Arena where his career began to rise. He is a graduate of the GWCCA Senior Lead-ership Development Program in partnership with the University of Georgia, Terry College of Busi-ness. In August of 2015, Erik was named Chair of the IAVM Stadium’s Committee Sector. Erik has certifications from IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety & Security and Venue Management School. In his free time, Erik participates in triathlons, long distance running and is a member of an ice hockey league in Atlanta.

Assistant Athletic Director, University of Delaware

Frantzer serves as Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations at the University of Delaware.  In this position, he oversee the day to day operations of the Bob Carpenter Center, which is a 5,500 seat Arena that host over 450 events per year with over 700,000 guest each year. Frantzer oversees 3 full time employees and over 120 part-time employees. He also oversees the event management team for all events and serves as event manager for all concerts, shows, major events and Men’s and Women’s basketball games. He also oversees all technology and audiovisual operations, capital projects for the Arena, maintain the building practice, meeting and event schedules, oversee all of the set-ups and breakdowns for every event.  Frantzer also serves on the Guest services and Revenue generating committees within the Athletic department. He also serves on the University committee for the International Association for Venue Managers. Prior to working at Delaware University, Frantzer worked with Facilities and Operations at the Hofstra University, Wagner College and American University. Frantzer received his Bachelor degree from Temple University where he studies Sport and Recreation management and he earned his MBA from Wagner College with a concentration in management.

Senior Vice President, Rosser International, Inc.

During his 43-year career as an architect, Fred Krenson has made significant contributions to the way sports and exhibition facilities are designed. He has been at the forefront of the industry for collegiate sports facilities, setting trends and designing facilities that help universities achieve goals for recruiting staff and athletes, generating revenue and achieving national stature.

As a senior vice president of Rosser International, Inc., a 70-year-old architecture, engineering and program management firm, Fred is responsible for the design, production and management of sports-and public assembly projects.

His extensive sports design experience includes stadia, arenas and recreational facilities for university, government, private and public sector clients. Fred is known for his ability to help clients assess their needs for sports facilities and find creative solutions within tight constraints. In addition to the design and expansion of Papa John’s Stadium at the University of Louisville, Fred’s credits include the Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett County, Georgia, a project that was designated the “Deal of the Year” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. He also was the designer behind the renovated Gallagher-Iba Arena at Oklahoma State University, which was rated the number one Collegiate Basketball Arena. His design credits also include the Colonial Life Center at the University of South Carolina and United Spirit Arena at Texas Tech University.

He received his Bachelor Degree in Architecture from Rice University and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Senior Sales Executive, TicketForce

Heidi Robinson, a Senior Sales Executive with TicketForce, LLC, brings twenty years of experience in customer service and sales management to the podium. Having spent twelve years overseeing the Central Ticket Office at Northern Arizona University, she is well-versed in box office operations, promoter relations, and event management. She is a seasoned speaker, leading presentations on Student Employment and Promoter Relations at national conferences and participating locally in a panel discussion on Marketing Best Practices. A certified Student Success Coach™, Heidi worked one-on-one with students while at NAU to help them achieve their personal and academic potential, and uses that training during presentations and Team Meetings currently. Heidi serves the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra on the Board of Director’s Development Committee, and previously worked in the museum field and home furnishings, rounding out her customer-focused career.
Principal, The Mackler Law Firm, PLLC

James focuses his practice on advising businesses, governments, and investors on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as “drones”. He works with clients on various regulatory, compliance, and litigation elements of drone usage across a variety of applications including hospitality, real estate, insurance, construction, security, video production, energy, manufacturing, and surveying.

Although James continues to work in the drone industry, the majority of his time is currently devoted to his campaign for United States Senate for the State of Tennessee.

Previously, James served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army. After spending seven years developing a successful private legal practice in Colorado, James was inspired by the events of September 11, 2001 to join the military. He spent three years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the 101st Airborne Division, including a one-year deployment to Iraq. After returning from Iraq, James transferred to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, where he served as a legal adviser to high-level commanders and as a supervising criminal prosecutor. Today, he continues to serve as an attorney in the Tennessee Air National Guard, and he also holds a commercial helicopter pilot's certificate.

James has been quoted in several media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, National Defense Magazine, The Tennessean, The Guardian, Nashville Public Radio, and local television news affiliates.

Director of Marketing, Verizon Arena

Jana DeGeorge has been Director of Marketing at Verizon Arena since 2006 and in the marketing department for 18 years. Over these 18 years she has developed a very strong working relationship with members of the print and broadcast media. Her department is responsible for social media presence of the arena and it’s events. She is also in charge of the backstage area and hospitality for all shows.

Because there are no local promoters in Arkansas, she works closely with promoters from all over the country in promoting shows at this 18,000 seat arena.

Jana’s favorite and first concert to attend was The Eagles in Madison Square Garden.

Sales Manager, US Testing Equipment, Ltd

An over 19 year security industry veteran Jason Allen started his career in the United State Marine Corps specializing in Anti-Terrorism Force Protection in the Middle East with the Marine Corps Security Guard program. After serving in the military, Jason moved on to the private sector working as a manager for Securitas Security Services were he provided guard services, armed protection and training services for a number of private industry customers ranging from high tech companies to consumer apparel.

For the last 10 years Jason has worked with US Testing Equipment as the current Sales Manager and Special Projects Manager. US Testing Equipment is a leader in Security Screening Technology solutions this includes everything from Walk Thru Metal Detection, Under Vehicle Inspection Systems, ETD (explosives trace detection), AT X-Ray, Whole Body Imaging, Cargo Screening Technologies for containers, and other detection systems. Over the years Jason has worked on providing solutions for everything from the US Open for Tennis, PGA Golf events, regulatory aviation programs, sporting events, concerts Events and specialized government programs.

Jason also has had the distinct privilege to conduct many national program roll outs and has firsthand knowledge regarding some of the challenges and benefits that comes with screening the public at small and large events. He focuses on a total solution from equipment selection, staff training and program management to be a true all in one provider. Jason has also become and Allied Member of IAVM and has completed year 1 of the AVSS program being more involved in the IAVM community to better understand the emerging security needs of the Industry.

Senior Associate Director of Athletics / Facilities, Max Sports Complex

Jay Artinian is the senior associate athletic director for facilities at Hofstra, a position that he has held since 2007. He is responsible for the maintenance and operation of all 11 athletic facilities on campus as well as seven natural grass practice fields. During the 2012 Presidential Debate at Hofstra Artinian served as the director of internal operations, acting as the liaison between the University and the Commission on Presidential Debates and the U.S. Secret Service. He had served as the assistant director of internal operations during the 2008 Presidential Debate. Artinian has also served as tournament director for three NCAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals, three NCAA Softball Regionals, two NCAA Soccer Tournament Championships and one NCAA Lacrosse First Round contest as well as numerous conference championship events. A 2000 graduate of Hofstra with a degree in marketing, Artinian played for three seasons on the Hofstra Men’s Lacrosse team and was part of Hofstra’s NCAA Tournament team in 1999. He was hired as an event coordinator in the facilities department after graduation and has worked in the department ever since. A native Long Islander, Artinian was born in Huntington, New York, currently resides in Massapequa, New York.

Chief Administrative Officer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority

Jennifer LeMaster is Chief Administrative Officer of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, presiding over finance, human resources, communications and marketing. In addition, she is responsible for facilitating the Authority’s 2020 Vision strategic plan.

LeMaster joined the Authority in 2007 serving in the Georgia Dome’s premium sales and service units, external affairs and administration. Prior to her current position, she was the Authority’s director of communications, serving as the public affairs lead on major public-private partnership initiatives, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, renovations to Centennial Olympic Park, and an expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center’s exhibit halls.

Before moving to Atlanta, LeMaster spent 10 years working at the University of Kentucky (UK), where she guided the establishment of the university’s sports hall of fame in 2005, inducting the inaugural class. She also produced more than a dozen high-profile annual events, including UK’s beloved basketball kick-off, Midnight Madness, and other state-wide branding and engagement opportunities.

A native of Ashland, Ky., LeMaster earned a dual degree in Communications and Political Science from UK. LeMaster and her husband, Zach Whipple, reside in Decatur, Ga. and have two children, Brennan, 7 and Marlee, 3.

Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky

Jill Schinberg is an Assistant Professor of Arts Administration at the University of Kentucky. She started her professional career at Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa and has subsequently held positions with Bay Area music promoter Another Planet Entertainment, Festival Internacional de Videodanza in Buenos Aires, Rena Shagan Associates in New York, and (most recently) Cal Performances in Berkeley. Along with producing and directing, she has served as a consultant to emerging arts organizations, venues, and dance companies in the United States and South America.

Schinberg researches gender gap issues in arts administration along with the notion of presenter as aesthetic gatekeeper. The gender gap in American society has always been part of her consciousness; now, as an ‘expat’ from a 25-year career in arts administration, she explores the dynamics and impact of gender disparities through her scholarship. She also studies the interdependent, and sometimes mysterious, relationships amongst contemporary audiences, artists, and presenters. Through consultancies and ongoing participation in the industry, she continues not only to research but also to seek opportunities for consultation and curation.

Schinberg holds an MFA in Modern Dance with an emphasis on Aesthetics and Arts Management from the University of Utah and BAs in both Spanish and Latin American Literature and Culture and Dance from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers and the Association of Arts Administration Educators.

Convention & Cultural Services Director, City of Sacramento

Ms. Ulich currently manages convention center and theater operations along with a range of associated cultural services for Sacramento. This includes facility administration for the Convention Center, Center Theater, Memorial Auditorium and Runyon Theater. The Department has a budget of $18M, and oversees a staff of 245. In addition, the department oversees the Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Sacramento Zoo, Powerhouse Science Center, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Historic Old Sacramento Foundation, Sacramento Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance.

Prior to Sacramento, Ms. Ulich served in similar positions with the Arts Council of Fort Worth, the Cultural Services Division of Tempe, AZ and the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Phoenix, AZ.

She received her degree at Oklahoma City University and has spent her entire career working in the arts. She serves on the United States Urban Arts Federation Board; IAVM Performing Arts Committee and has been named honorary AIA Fort Worth.

Director of Event Services, Portland'5 Centers for the Arts

With Portland’5 Centers for the Arts since 2004, Joe Durr oversees front of house operations, safety, security and admissions for the five theatres of “P5.” Each year P5 hosts over 900,000 people at 900+ performances of symphony, ballet, opera, Broadway, lectures, theatre and dance.

A former professional dancer, Joe’s prior career includes 15 years as a fund raiser and development officer for non-profits and higher education. He has completed IAVM’s Venue Management School at Oglebay (years 1 & 2, and Graduate Institute) as well completing two years of the Academy for Venue Safety and Security. Past chair of the IAVM Mentoring Committee, Joe currently serves on IAVM’s GuestX and VenueConnect planning committees.

Vice President, Event Programming & Content, VenuWorks

John Gimenez is responsible for the programming of events and entertainment at all VenuWorks managed facilities. His experience both in buying shows and working for agencies makes him an invaluable asset in bringing content to our venues.

Prior to working for VenuWorks, John worked in Nashville for over eighteen years as a successful talent agent for William Morris Endeavor, the Agency Group, and APA. He also worked for ACE Theatrical Group in Houston, TX where he was responsible for talent buying and promotion for all genres of entertainment for the Majestic Theatre and Empire Theatre in San Antonio and Saenger Theatre and Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans. John is a member of International Association of Fairs & Expositions; International Entertainment Buyers Association; The Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas.

Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, VenuWorks

John Siehl entered the public assembly industry 52 years ago in 1965 at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio. In 1990 he joined the staff at the Ervin J Nutter Center, retiring from the Nutter Center in 2010 as Executive Director.

Siehl is currently the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for VenuWorks.

Siehl joined IAVM in 1978 and has held the CFE designation since 1995, Siehl is also a Past Chair of IAVM. He is currently on the Certification Board for IAVM. Within the IAVM, Siehl served as Chair of the Board of Education, and Chair of the Life Safety Council. Siehl also served as Chair of the Board of Governors, on the Universities and Arenas Committees.

He is a past chairman of AVSS and the Safety and Security Committee. Siehl has been an active participant since its inception, as a student and subsequently joining the faculty. He also has been on the Board of Regents and faculty of the Venue Management School.

At Wright State, Siehl received the President’s Award for Excellence in Human Relations in 2001; also in 2001 Siehl received the Dayton Business Journal’s Corporate Caring Award, as well as the Fairborn Chamber President’s Award and the Beavercreek Civic Award in 2008.

Product Manager, Ungerboeck Software International

Justin D. Ungerboeck serves as Product Manager within the Venues division of Ungerboeck Software International, a leading provider of software for the event management industries. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Ungerboeck Software has offices in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia, including in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Justin has gained extensive industry insight during his 10+ years of experience at Ungerboeck and his frequent visits with event organizers and venues around the world.

Justin constantly keeps his finger on the industry pulse, rendering him a subject matter expert. With an in-depth understanding of all the varying types of venues and business models, Justin is always on top of emerging trends and best practices. Prior to joining USI, Mr. Ungerboeck practiced law in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds both an MBA and Juris Doctorate degree from St. Louis University. In addition to graduating from IAVM’s Venue Management School at Oglebay, Justin currently serves on the IAVM Board of Directors, Research Committee (Chair), and Industry Affairs Council.

He resides in the St. Louis area with his wife Kara and their two children, Catherine and Aidan. In 2015, Justin was appointed by the Austrian Foreign Ministry to the position of Honorary Consul.

Chief Executive Officer, OC Fair & Event Center

Kathy Kramer joined the OC Fair & Event Center in January of 2015 as CEO. The OC Fair & Event Center produces the annual OC Fair each summer that attracts over 1.3 million guests. In addition the 150 acre facility plays host to over 150 event days annually and is home to Centennial Farm, Hero’s Hall Museum and the Agricultural Workers Memorial – Table of Dignity. Kathy is a Board Member of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, a Board Member of the nonprofit Taller San Jose and is part of the International Association of Venue Managers Fair and Amphitheater Committee. She is a member of IAVM, IAFE, IFEA and WFA. She was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in Orange County in 2016. Kathy comes from a diverse background in for-profit, government and not-for-profit organizations, holding key roles in the areas of strategic planning, sales & marketing, venue operations, production of major events and corporate sponsorship. Her previous position was with Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she was the Vice President of Business Operations. She was also Deputy Director of the Phoenix Convention Center and Venues, Vice President of Convention Sales & Marketing for Century Link Center in Omaha, Midwest Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for Six Continents Hotels and Resorts and Director of Sales & Marketing for Harrah’s Casino and Hotel. She holds a CFE (Certified Facility Executive) from the International Association of Venue Managers and is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP).

Senior Director of Marketing, Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club

Kathy has over 25 years of experience in marketing on the agency and client-side of the business. She is in her 13th season with the Milwaukee Brewers where she and the marketing team are responsible for all consumer marketing, advertising and branding efforts for both the general and multicultural markets. Contributing to the Brewers surpassing 2.3-million tickets sold for the past 11 seasons, with three of those seasons topping 3-million, the marketing team has received regional and national recognition for its award-winning campaigns. Prior to joining the Brewers, Kathy spent nearly ten years with The Bon-Ton Stores in Pennsylvania holding the title of divisional vice president/creative director prior to moving to Milwaukee in 1999. After relocating to Milwaukee, she served as vice president of account services for Zizzo Group Advertising & Public Relations in Milwaukee from 2000-04, where she ultimately managed the Milwaukee Brewers business. Kathy sits on the steering committee for The National Sports Forum, was named to The Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list in 2006, and is passionately involved within the Milwaukee community.

Chief Sales Officer, Nashville Convention & Vistors Corporation

Kay Witt, Chief Sales Officer for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation is a 30-year hospitality veteran. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Kay began her career at the Dallas Convention Center as an Event Coordinator before relocating to Louisville, KY. There she held several positions at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the Louisville Convention Center and eventually the Louisville CVB. The last 24 years she has been an active member of the Nashville community and has directed various sales teams at Gaylord Opryland and now the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.

Head of Digital Public Appearances / Touring, WME

Since 2014, Kenny Layton’s team has worked on live tours and appearances for more than 50 native digital stars, including MARKIPLIER, LILLY SINGH, THE DOLAN TWINS, and CAMERON DALLAS. In addition to routing / booking live tours, he also focuses on pursuing crossover opportunities for WME’s digital clients in more traditional sectors—film, TV, literary, etc. Layton has over 10 years of experience working in the digital space and has been named to Billboard’s Digital Power Players List two years in a row.
General Manager, ENMAX Centre

25 years experience as Sales & Marketing Manager and General Manager of various facilities that include Convention Center, Theatre, and Arena, all in Canada. Have been involved in a series of Change Management and Business Structures for different venue organizations and associations, and have worked with employees that are union and non union, civic, private, and contracted.

Talent Buyer, AEG Presents

Lenore Kinder works with AEG Presents. Her path began in Knoxville where, directly out of college, she went to work for Blue Cats, honing her marketing, production and booking skills and working her way up to Director of Operations. In search of personal growth and a general challenge, in 2006 she moved to Nashville in search of the right opportunity. In 2007, Lenore joined AEG Live/The Messina Group as a marketing intern, just to get her foot in the door. She quickly proved herself to be an invaluable part of the Nashville team and in 2014 was nominated for Pollstar Talent Buyer of the Year and 2017 ACM Talent Buyer of the Year. Lenore has become well-known for her “talent intuition” and artist development insight. She currently curates tours for Kacey Musgraves and The Lumineers in North America. Looking at her club shows from just a few years ago and you will see artists such as Imagine Dragons, Adele, Katy Perry, Mumford and Sons, twenty one pilots – artists she still books in arenas. Lenore’s passion for her work, knack for identifying talent, and her endearing tenacity has led to indelible relationships with artists, managers, agents and everyone in between.

Senior Director of Ticket Operations, Bridgestone Arena

Lonnie Wilkerson is the Director of Ticket Operations for the Nashville Predators and the Bridgestone Arena, and has been involved in ticketing for several years. Prior to his position, he worked at various venues in Nashville doing everything from being a stagehand to merch seller and anything in between.

CEO, TicketForce

Lynne King Smith is a writer, blogger, lover of social media, and loves to share ideas about using technology across markets. She helped to found and ran the communications for a non-profit organization from 1996-2002 and worked as a senior writer for over ten years.

She holds a BS/Business degree with an E-business concentration and manages the online presence for TicketForce, where she is the CEO since January of 2010. Her blog, The Whole Business is a casual conversation on life and business.

King Smith is a frequent presenter via webinars and national conferences, including Association of Arts Presenters (APAP), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), International Ticketing Association (INTIX), and The League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT). Format includes formal presentations, round-table discussions and one-on-one consulting.

Lynne has received the Most Influential Women in Arizona award from the AZ Biz Journal and the Most Admired Leaders in Phoenix from the Phoenix Business Journal. Her leadership at TicketForce with a focus on positive company culture has resulted in being voted one of the Best Places to Work in Arizona 2 years in a row.

President & CEO, APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals

In October 2011, Mario Garcia Durham became the fifth President and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) since its founding in 1957.

Prior to his leadership role with APAP, Mr. Durham was posted at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) where he served as Director of Artist Communities & Presenting from 2004 – 2011. At the NEA, Mr. Durham contributed to programs such as An Evening of Poetry hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama and the NEA Opera Honors. He inaugurated the NEA’s Artist Communities granting program and was the initiator of Live from Your Neighborhood, a groundbreaking study of the impact of outdoor arts festivals in the U.S. After holding numerous management positions and serving as artistic director at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the 1990s, he founded Yerba Buena Arts & Events in 2000, the producing organization of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The outdoor event offers more than 100 free performances by the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and more for an audience of 100,000 attendees.

Throughout his career of over 20 years as a presenter, Mr. Durham has served on numerous boards, special advisory committees and funding panels. He is currently on the board of the Alliance of Artist Communities and Data Arts (formerly the Cultural Data Project). Durham serves as vice chair of the Performing Arts Alliance, a board of the leaders of the major performing arts service organizations in the U.S. Durham had previously served on the APAP Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee. He is on the Community Advisory Council of the PBS station WETA in Washington, DC.

A graduate of the University of Houston, Durham is passionate about a broad range of performing arts and evolving forms of performance and media arts.

Vice President North American Routing and Tours, FELD Entertainment

Mark is an entertainment industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience. He has been with FELD Entertainment for more than a decade. Mark and his team are responsible for routing, contracting and touring three units of Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus, five units of Disney on Ice, four units of Disney Live!, Arenacross, Stadium Supercross, Arena Monster Jam, Stadium Monster Jam and Marvel Universe Live!...totaling 820 domestic engagements annually.

Mark has 17 years of arena management experience as he held various leadership roles across the country. Mark has worked in the Los Angeles Coliseum and Sports Arena, Peoria Civic Center, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Stadium and Coliseum, MGM Grand Garden and opened the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC.

Mark has also worked with the Harlem Globetrotters, Great Russian Ice Show (which he and his father produced and toured) and Vee Corporation.

Mark has been married for 22 years and has one daughter who will be graduating from the University of South Carolina in May 2018, majoring in Sport and Entertainment Management. Mark and his family reside in Lakewood Ranch, FL.

President, Smart City Networks

As the President of Smart City Networks, Mark oversees Smart City’s sales and operations teams and all strategic corporate initiatives. With over 30 years of experience in the convention industry Mark has worked with many of the largest convention centers, stadiums and arenas in North America.

Before taking the helm at Smart City, Mark was Vice President of Facilities for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor’s Authority following a 23-year tenure at Aramark culminating in his role as Executive Vice President of Aramark’s Convention & Cultural Attractions Group.

Mark has the unique perspective of having worked as both a facility manager and exclusive facility partner in a variety of roles. This perspective has led to numerous speaking opportunities both in the United States and abroad. He is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Association International Palais de Congress (AIPC), and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). Most recently he addressed AIPC’s 56th Annual Congress in Berlin, Germany on current technology issues and trends in the Convention Center market.

He holds a BS degree in Accounting from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Marketing and PR Manager, Music City Center

Mary Brette Wylly is the Marketing & PR Manager for the Music City Center (MCC). She has been with the convention center since the building opened in 2013 and oversees the public relations and sustainability departments. She works closely with the Sustainability Coordinator to effectively communicate the sustainable initiatives and successes at the Music City Center as well as organize all community outreach efforts. Mary Brette is a member of the Nashville Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and she earned a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s degree from the University of Mississippi.

Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer, AEG Worldwide

Matthew R. Bettenhausen is the Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer for AEG Worldwide. AEG is the leading sports and entertainment presenter in the world.  They own or manage over 120 sports, entertainment and convention center venues such as STAPLES Center, the LA Convention Center and the LA Live entertainment district in Los Angeles. They own sports franchises in professional basketball, hockey, and soccer.  AEG Presents is the second largest promoter of concerts, live tours and special events in the United States.  Matt has overall responsibility for security, safety and preparedness for AEG’s domestic and global operations and facilities. 

Matt is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP); Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP); an attorney (Illinois/Federal bars) and a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Illinois. 
Previously, Matt was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead California’s homeland security and emergency management operations as the Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA). Matt was a member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s cabinet for nearly six years and served as the Chairman of the California Emergency Council.
Prior to his appointment in California, Matt served as the first Director of State and Territorial Coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he was the Department’s representative to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and a member of both the Department’s Emergency Response Group and its Interagency Incident Management Team.

For over twelve years, Matt served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago where he investigated and prosecuted federal criminal offenses, including terrorism cases.  He was also appointed Deputy Governor of Illinois and served as the State’s first Homeland Security Advisor.

Associate Director, Events, National Basketball Association

Micah’s interest in a venue management career began during college by managing a collegiate hockey team as a student employee. From that experience his interest grew into working for two NBA franchises, two Olympic games, and coordinating venue logistics for events around the globe. Now working for the National Basketball Association, he is responsible for carrying out NBA marquee events such as the NBA Finals, All-Star weekend, NBA Draft Combine, as well as the NBA’s Global Games series of pre-season exhibition games held internationally in places such as: London, Mexico City, Turkey, Brazil, China, and South Africa. He holds a M.S. in Sports Management from Columbia University and is also employed as a part-time associate instructor at Columbia University as well.

Senior Research Director, Center for Exhibition Industry Research

Nancy Drapeau, PRC. A 24-year market research veteran with over 18 years in the business-to-business exhibitions sector. As CEIR’s Senior Research Director, Ms. Drapeau conducts industry wide studies and reports on current trends in the exhibition industry. She holds a BA in Government from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Advanced European and International Studies from l’Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales. She is an AC Nielsen Burke Institute trained focus group moderator. She is a well-respected industry speaker and an active member of the Marketing Research Association (MRA) as well as a past participant of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Future Trends Task Force and member of the Convention Industry Council’s (CIC) Research Committee. She lives in Maine, is married with a 16 year-old son and a border collie puppy named Megy.

Director of Events & Patron Services, Walton Arts Center/Walmart AMP

Nick Zazal, CVP is the Director of Events & Patron Services for the Walton Arts Center/Walmart AMP in Northwest Arkansas where he oversees FOH operations, Concessions, Security, Volunteers, Client Rental Sales and is the liaison to the Resident Companies.  Prior to his time in Arkansas, Nick spent nearly a decade with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Champaign-Urbana, IL where he oversaw the Events team handling touring production, hospitality and artist logistics.  Nick also works with the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon as a part of the planning committee overseeing Post-Race food operations.  Nick holds an MS degree in Sports, Recreation and Tourism and a BFA in Theatre (Stage Management), both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  A trained stage manager, other past credits include time with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT) and the Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts (Little Rock, AR).  He is currently Chair of the Membership Committee for IAVM. 

Nick and his wife, Sallie, are the proud parents a 3-year old daughter (Anya) and a newborn son (Jack).

Marketer, National Shows 2 (NS2)

Olivia Christian (Instagram: Marshall_Stacks) is a marketer at National Shows 2 (NS2), a Nashville-based, full-service concert promotion company that creates, produces, and promotes live entertainment events in various venues across the country. With the intent of becoming a rock journalist for Rolling Stone (inspired by Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous) at a very early age, Olivia enjoyed attending and promoting DIY shows in her hometown of Huntsville, Ala., which were few and far between. She begged her parents to take her to hone her music tastes at various Southern festivals like Big Spring Jam, City Stages, and Warped Tour stops. As a young music lover, she had a passion for crashing her family’s computer with every millennial middle schooler’s favorite illegal download software, Limewire. Olivia attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. to study journalism and public relations. As a student, she enjoyed internships at Ryman Auditorium, Lightning 100’s Live On The Green, and Press Here Publicity in New York City. Following graduation, she cut her PR chops at Kaleidoscope Media as a Junior Account Manager, working with festivals such as Bonnaroo and Louder Than Life, then moved into the Marketing Manager role at War Memorial Auditorium and Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Over her time at WMA and TPAC, she directed The Attic Sessions web series, grew the venues’ social networking presence, and developed War Memorial Auditorium’s brand as a rock destination, marketing multiple sold-out shows at the 2044-capacity room such as Judah and the Lion, Brand New, City and Colour, and Modest Mouse. Olivia has been with NS2 since December of 2016, where she most enjoys brainstorming creative grassroots promotions and stalking daily ticket counts for the shows she markets nationwide.


Patrick's responsibilities largely focus on member activities and workgroups. In addition to managing the ongoing activities of workgroups as well as coordinating insight meetings, Patrick is also responsible for directing HTNG’s internal systems strategy and architecture. Patrick holds several Microsoft systems certifications and is familiar with managing systems across distributed networks, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering. In his prior role, Patrick managed IT projects for a suburban Chicago school district, which totaled 25,000 users in 27 different buildings. In his free time, Patrick enjoys reading popular non/fiction.

Assistant Athletic Director, Facilities & Operations, Georgia State University

Patrick Hatcher joined the Georgia State Athletics Department as the Director of Facilities and Operations in January 2016. Hatcher assists in the management of all athletic facilities as well as the operation of athletic events and outside rentals, including officials, security, custodial, student workers, visiting teams, parking and facility set-up. He also assists with various construction and capital projects for facility renovations.

Prior to joining Georgia State, Patrick Hatcher served as the Director of Operations and Facilities in the Samford Athletics Department for four years. Hatcher oversaw all of the athletic facilities while supervising game day activity for all 17 sports. In addition, Hatcher was the point person for all Southern Conference Championships and other post-season events. He also served as the co-advisor to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Hatcher came to Samford after one year working as the Championships/Compliance/Operations Assistant at the Southern Conference.

A native of Marietta, Ga., Hatcher is a 2011 graduate from Samford with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and minor in business administration as well as a 2014 graduate from Samford’s Brock School of Business with a master’s in business administration. Hatcher was a 4 year letter winner as a defensive lineman, earning All-Southern Conference honors in 2008.

Director of Guest Relations, Denver Broncos / Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Entering into his 13th season working as the Director of Guest Relations, Patrick Tetrick oversees a staff of 450 members for Denver Broncos football games, public and private events held at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  The Guest Relations staff cover all areas of stadium including ushers, ticket takers, concierge desks and mobility assist personnel.

Patrick grew up in Great Bend, Kansas and joined the US Army as a Military Policeman following high school.  He was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany serving with the 503rd Military Police (MP) Company, 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead) and at Ft. Lee, Virginia with the 555th MP Company.  He then entered the US Army Reserve with the 346th MP Company (Escort Guard) from Hutchinson, KS and the 530th Military Police Battalion in Omaha, NE.  As a Master Sergeant, Patrick retired in 2005 after completing four deployment including Kuwait/Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.

He received his B.A. in Sports Administration from Wichita State University.  Before his current position, he has occupied the role as the Assistant Security Manager and Guest Relations Manager for the stadium.

Principal, Thornton Tomasetti

Peggy Van Eepoel established and currently oversees the Weidlinger Protective Design practice in the Washington, D.C. office. During her 15-year plus career, Peggy has been involved in the design and structural hardening of more than 100 buildings, including facilities for the U.S. Department of State, General Services Administration, Department of Defense and Veterans Administration. Her diverse portfolio also includes master-planned facilities, office buildings, educational facilities, laboratories, military housing, courthouses, museums and hospitals. Her expertise includes the identification of applicable security standards, site security planning and determination of the blast-loading environment, dynamic analysis of building structure and envelope elements, and progressive-collapse analysis, and SAFETY Act certification.  She has authored numerous papers and articles and has contributed to various technical manuals and guidebooks. She is currently serving as co-editor of an update to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Structural Design for Physical Security, which will be a state-of-the-practice manual for the design of structures for blast effects.

Principal, Event Risk Management Solutions LLC

Peter is an accomplished security and risk management consultant within the international and US major events environment. He is an innovative leader and an authority on strategies and operational solutions to align and integrate Event Organizing Committees with Government Security Authorities, Police, Public Safety agencies and the private security sector within complex, multi-agency event environments. Peter’s diverse range of skills have been developed over 15 plus years of safety and security planning, operational management and delivery of major events augmented from his experience as an Australian Army Special Forces officer. His major event experience includes the Pasadena Tournament of Roses (2017), Baku 2015 European Games, ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 (Australia & NZ), six Olympic Games (2000 – 2012), the 2010 G8 & G20 Summit (Toronto) and His Holiness the Dali Lama visit to Sun Valley (2005). Peter has led and managed multi-national project teams in Azerbaijan, USA, Greece, Italy, Canada and the UK, and has also worked on projects in Qatar and Russia. Peter is a Director on the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) World Board and a regular lecturer and writer on event security and risk management. He has also been engaged as an Expert Witness for legal cases involving event security and risk management. Based out of Boise, Idaho, Peter is the Principal, Event Risk Management Solutions - a boutique consulting practice committed to enhancing safety and security for events and festivals in today’s uncertain world.

President/CEO, Walton Arts Center

Peter joined Walton Arts Center in May 2009. Since then Walton Arts Center has tripled in size and has grown to become Arkansas’ premier arts presenter. More than 342,600 people attend events at Walton Arts Center venues annually, and the organization’s education programs reach 45,000 students, teachers and citizens statewide. Walton Arts Center serves as home to four resident companies.

Under his leadership, Walton Arts Center opened the state’s largest outdoor entertainment venue, the Walmart AMP, one of Pollstar’s 2016 Top 60 best-selling amphitheaters in the country and recently completed a $24 million campaign to renovate and expand Walton Arts Center’s performing arts campus.

During his tenure Peter has overseen the creation of The Artosphere Festival, a month-long celebration of arts and nature. Signature programs such as Trail Mix - a series of free concerts along the regions extensive trail system and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra with Maestro Corrado Rovaris have received national acclaim. Lane also developed the 10x10 Arts Series, a presentation of 10 arts performances with all tickets at $10 and spearheaded VoiceJam, a new a cappella festival with Deke Sharon. Peter came to Northwest Arkansas from previous leadership positions with the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

CEO and Co-founder of Distil Networks,

Rami Essaid is the CEO and Co-founder of Distil Networks, the first easy and accurate way to identify and police malicious website traffic, blocking 99.9% of bad bots without impacting legitimate users. With over 14 years in telecommunications, network security, and cloud infrastructure management, Rami continues to advise enterprise companies around the world, helping them embrace the cloud to improve their scalability and reliability while maintaining a high level of security.
Producer, Speaker, Consultant, Wings of Fame Productions

Rey O’Day has extensive management experience in the fairs and festivals, food and beverage concessions, and entertainment industries.

She currently teaches the Principles of Event Management as a UC Riverside Extension Instructor and serves as the part time NICA Executive Manager of Councils, an event organization focused on developing vendor/fair staff Communication Committees at fairs and advantaging its vendor members with the power of group discount buying.  Most recently she served as the Producing Artistic Director at Performance Riverside, a highly regarded regional, professional musical theatre company; and, built, equipped and opened a 200 seat theater for the City of Riverside.  Over a period of 18 years she held a number of key management positions at Fairplex, home of the LA County Fair, including Assistant Operations Manager, Retail Sales Manager, Entertainment Manager, Director of Food and Beverage and General Manager of Cornucopia Foods, LLC.

For the IAFE Institute of Fair Management she teaches the “Principles of Food & Beverage” and “Guest Services” courses.  She serves as Best Practices/Industry Standards Consultant for Western Fairs Association.  Under the banner of her consulting company, Wings of Fame Productions, Ms. O’Day gives keynote addresses and leads workshops for numerous event organizations. She also conducts orientations and guest service training for organizations like The Hollywood Bowl and California Fairs Service Authority. 

As a singer/dancer she performed with George Burns, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kate Smith, Jack Jones, Bing Crosby and was a charter member of “The Young Americans.”   In 1987 she received the YWCA San Gabriel Valley “Woman of Achievement Award” for her many contributions to the arts and humanities. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Californian Community College teaching credential in Dance.
Her left brain and her right brain enjoy talking with each other.

In summary, she is a General Manager, Artistic Producer, Educator, and Businesswoman who believes the only reason any of us has a job is because we have a customer to serve.  She is grateful to be with us today.

Agent, Concerts, ICM Partners

With over 20 years of agency experience, Rick Farrell has been a music agent at ICM Partners for 17 years. He is the responsible for booking the west coast for the adult contemporary department in the Los Angeles office. ICM’s adult contemporary clients include the Temptations, Kris Kristofferson, Dancing with the Stars and Jay Leno. Rick is responsible for Vicki Lawrence, The Righteous Brothers, Brian Culbertson, William Shatner and others. Rick was born and raised in L.A. and has a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in Business Administration.

President, Hunden Strategic Partners

Mr. Hunden and his Chicago-based firm offer extensive experience in the economics and strategy of developing transformative real estate projects. He has provided economic development, finance, feasibility, impact, developer selection and planning expertise for more than 350 projects and
studies over the past 20+ years, totaling more than $3.1 billion in developed real estate. 

His expertise has helped communities and developers understand, develop and successfully open catalytic economic development projects, including conference and convention centers, arenas, performing arts centers, entertainment districts, sports facilities and compelling hotels like the 21c
Museum Hotels, the Omni Fort Worth and numerous other large convention hotels across the country. He has also worked on compelling and transformative convention and exposition centers, arenas and performing arts venues, including the Murat Centre for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis, the Travis County Exposition Center in Austin and the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center in Oregon. 

Last year, Hunden completed a high-profile study regarding the proposed San Diego Chargers’ Convention Center and Stadium project. Hunden has also consulted on major and minor league sports facilities like Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and a new football stadium for the University of South Alabama, as well as more than twenty youth sports complexes across the country. Mr. Hunden received his degree in Finance from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

President and CEO, Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bob Jameson has delivered record visitation and bookings since being named president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2013. He previously spent 36 years in leadership positions in the hotel industry.

Recent achievements include record citywide conventions (12) in 2017, more than 8.8 million visitors in 2016 and an economic impact of $2.3 billion. During his tenure, the Bureau launched Fort Worth Sports Marketing and the Fort Worth Film Commission in 2015, and boosted marketing in strategic countries alongside expansion of air service at DFW International Airport.

Jameson has modernized the Bureau, which has been recognized nationally for research, technology and social media initiatives to engage visitors and meeting planners. In 2017 the Bureau commissioned its first strategic plan to boost tourism and meetings.

Jameson’s career in hospitality began with Marriott International in California in 1977 and continued with 28 years in leadership at Fort Worth’s Worthington Renaissance Hotel.

Jameson’s service to civic and arts organizations includes Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. and member of the board of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Cliburn Foundation, Fort Worth Opera, The University of North Texas School of Hospitality and Merchandising and The Arts Council of Fort Worth.

Jameson was born in Long Beach, California, and raised in Garden Grove, California. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Jameson and his wife, Anne Milder Jameson, are the parents of four children: Bradley, Simone, Mackenzie, and Andrea.

Executive Director Business Development, ExteNet Systems

Russell has over thirty years of experience in the wireless and telecommunications industry with direct technical experience, marketing, management and media content competencies.  His background includes engineering, marketing, design and deployment of wireless access and transport networks for domestic and international markets as well as business development, merger and acquisition successes in the industry.

At ExteNet, Mr. Vest advises on key initiatives in business development policies and objectives related to commercial and Wi-Fi broadband distributed networks.  Responsibilities include assessment and penetration of new vertical markets, defining target customers, analyzing business opportunities complete with content and application definition, developing and reviewing proposals, contract negotiations and cultivating customer relationships.

Mr. Vest holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  A Texas native, he has lived in Australia, Singapore and both coasts of the United States, prior to moving to Chicago.

Director of Sustainability, Henderson Engineers, Inc.

The director of sustainability, the director of both Henderson University and Henderson Research, and the director of probably something else, Ryan Evans is a man of many titles, and talents; that’s why he’s Henderson’s go to guy – for a lot of stuff. When he’s not presenting the latest and greatest trends in the sport and venue industry or heading up our internal, company-funded research program, Ryan can be found consulting on projects’ mechanical systems and how they interact with the building structure and occupants, leading to high performance designs. A professional engineer and LEED accredited professional, Ryan’s considerable knowledge and credibility is one of the many prominent reasons his clients continuously request him. When it comes to finding the right balance between work, family, and community involvement, Ryan’s your guy. His lighthearted attitude and major dedication in and out of the office is what make him a valuable player to the Henderson team.

Executive Director, SaskTel Centre

Scott Ford is the Executive Director of at SaskTel Centre one of Canada’s busiest arenas and the premiere sports and entertainment venue in the great province of Saskatchewan. Scott has over 25 years of experience in the event management and entertainment business. He is a board member of Saskatoon Sports Tourism and has been on the Executive Committee of many National and International events hosted in Saskatoon such as the IIHF World Juniors Hockey Championships, Memorial Cup, Tim Horton’s Brier, Canadian Country Music Awards, PBR Canadian Finals, CIAU University Cup, Juno Awards and many more. Scott is involved in hosting, managing and producing some of Saskatoon’s and Saskatchewan’s largest and most successful events.

Executive Director, VenuWorks

Scott has worked almost 20 years for VenuWorks in a number of facilities in the Midwest. His entire career in the entertainment and sports industry has spanned over twenty-five years serving various positions with a wide range of organizations including the NHL Minnesota North Stars, St. Paul Saints, NBA San Antonio Spurs, MLB Colorado Rockies, NCAA Division I Hockey, United States Hockey League, Central Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and currently with NCAA Division I Basketball and Southern Professional Hockey League. His experience has not limited to the sports side of the business, but also extends into privately owned arenas, historic theatres and numerous multi-use facilities. Scott has been married to his wife Annie for 22 years and is father to twin nine-year-old boys and a six-year-old daughter. During his off time, Scott enjoys traveling with his family, playing hockey and alpine mountain climbing

Deputy Manager II, Big Fresno Fair

Stacy Rianda attended California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business. In 1987, Stacy began working for fairs in the livestock department and immediately fell in love with the industry and the people. Before she even graduated from college Stacy began working with the Tulare County Fair in Tulare, CA and was there from 1991 – 2000. She is currently the Deputy Manager of the Big Fresno Fair in Fresno, CA where she has been employed since 2001.

Stacy has been a member of the Rotary Club of Fig Garden for sixteen years and is a past president of the club. She has also served on the board of California Women for Agriculture, Fresno Area Crime Stoppers and the Pop Laval Foundation. Professionally, Stacy served on the board of the Western Fairs Association from 2008 – 2014 as well as the California Fairs Alliance Board.

As the Deputy Manager of The Big Fresno Fair, what Stacy enjoys most is “doing a little bit of everything.” No two days are ever the same!

Deputy Assistant Director, Directorate of Intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Special Agent Stephen P. Rees entered the FBI in 1995 and has worked a variety of violations to include Organized Crime/Drug matters, White Collar matters, violent crime matters and counterterrorism. Agent Rees has served numerous positions at home and abroad and is currently a Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) within the Directorate of Intelligence. 

Agent Rees is a 1990 graduate of California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo (California) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is also a 2013 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey (California) with a Masters of Arts in Security Studies. Prior to the FBI, Agent Rees served as an Infantry Officer in the U. S. Army, which included combat and peacetime assignments. Agent Rees is a second generation law enforcement officer from San Diego, California. He is married with two children and currently resides in Virginia. 

Director of Arenas, Melbourne and Olympic Parks (M&OP)

Steve Harper CFE has 23 years’ experience in the Venue Management Industry working in venues within the United States and Australia.

Currently  Director of Arenas for Melbourne and Olympic Parks (M&OP), Victoria,  Harper oversees the commercial and operational management of Rod Laver (15,000 seats), Hisense (10,000 seats) and Margaret Court (7,500 seats) Arenas. These venues annually welcome around 400 events and attract more than 2.5 million people including the Australian Open Tennis, national and international sports and entertainment events.

Prior to M&OP Harper served as Chief Operating Officer at VenuesWest, Western Australia where he was responsible for the day-to-day running of seven geographically spread public assembly venues including nib Stadium (19,000 seats), HBF Stadium (5,000 seats) and HBF Arena, these venues attracted over 2 million patrons annually.

Previously Harper was Assistant Director and Acting Director for “SevenVenues” in Virginia, United States where he managed all facets of seven public assembly venues, including five theatres, Scope Arena (13,000 seats) and the Harbour Park Stadium (15,000 seats).

Preceding his time in Virginia, Harper spent nine year in Seattle, Washington managing seven recreation, sporting and entertainment facilities including the 75,000 seat Husky Stadium, which hosted the Washington Huskies Football team and for three seasons the National Football League's (NFL) Seattle Seahawks.  

In 2005 Harper earned the Certified Facilities Executive (CFE).

Harper has been on the Australian Venue Management Association (VMA) board since 2012.   During this time he chaired three of the Association’s Annual Congress’ and the Membership Committee.  In May 2017, Steve Harper became the eleventh President of the VMA.

Executive Director, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)

Executive Director Riseling leads IACLEA with over 3,100 members in 15 countries. E.D. Riseling retired from UW-Madison as the Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Police in August of 2016. She held the UW-Madison position for 25 years. During her time at UW-Madison Chief Riseling was a former IACP Vice President. The IACP is the world’s largest police leadership organization with close to 30,000 members in 120 countries.

Sue is the Past President of the Dane County chiefs of Police, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association and the first woman and first University Police Chief to hold that particular position. She is the Past President and founder of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives. In 2003 Sue was awarded the Motorola Law Enforcement Executive of the Year. In 2015, the UW-Madison bestowed the Chancellor’s Award to Sue for her work serving students, staff and faculty.

Director, Human Resources, AT&T

With over 29 years of service, Susan started at AT&T in the Law Department before working the majority of her career in a variety of roles within Human Resources.  She has served as a strategic HR business partner supporting technology organizations, start-ups, business, corporate and support functions while rounding out her experience as a specialist in HR with Organizational & Career Development, Performance Management, Compensation, Benefits, and AT&T’s Workforce 2020 transformation. Sue has a passion for leading strategic and change management initiatives that meet business needs while making a difference for organizations and their people.  In her current role she leads the team responsible for championing AT&T’s great place to work for ALL movement – creating a culture of high trust and high engagement that supports the company’s business strategy and landmark transformation.  This work most recently landed AT&T a spot for the first time on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work list. 

Susan serves as a mentor and active member of AT&T’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – IDEAL (Individuals with Disabilities), WOA (Women of AT&T), APCA (Asian Pacific Islanders) and OxyGEN (cross-generations).  She donates her time to Feed My Starving Children, Stop Hunger Now, Senior Food & Nutrition Program (SFNP), and National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).

Susan was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she currently resides with her husband of 27 years, also a long-time AT&T employee, and their three children.  She enjoys spending time with her family, sports, yoga, being outdoors and dabbling in interior design.  She is energized by change and new opportunities, and finds it most rewarding to develop, empower, and inspire team members to utilize and enhance their unique capabilities to achieve their business and career goals.

Operations Analyst, Georgia State University

Todd Ballew has a strong background in the operations and management of sporting events and large spectator gatherings, working as an Assistant Athletic Director for Operations for nearly a decade. As part of these duties, Todd worked as the user’s representative on several capital improvement projects for sporting venues. Todd’s background brings a unique perspective to the Heery organization. His practical experience in event management and project responsibility from the “client-side” blended with his experience from the “provider-side” affords both client and staff with a true understanding of sport facility goals. Todd is the Operations Analyst for GSU Stadium redevelopment project working closely with the user group and the design team to ensure functional efficiency.

Todd has a Master’s Degree in Athletics Administration and has worked in Athletic Programs at Clemson University, Florida State University, and University of Tulsa.

Booking Manager, Tacoma Dome

Tom Alexander started off his career 25 years ago in Santa Monica, California at PACE Concerts as the booking assistant for ex-ICM and CAA agent Hal Lazareff.

This early opportunity introduced Tom to several key industry people including John Meglen, Bob Roux and Louie Messina, who remain allies to this day. The touring bug caught Tom and he jumped on the road with Yanni, Andrea Bocelli and others.

Opportunity knocked again and Tom spent seven years working for AEG Live in L.A. and Dallas managing the tour and regional contract administration reviewing venue, artist and co-pro deals.

Tom joined Live Nation Touring in 2009 to work on the worldwide Nickelback tour immediately followed by Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live” tour. The road bug was cured with the arrival of two wonderful kids.

Following a couple more booking gigs in Houston with Live Nation and the Allen Event Center in Dallas, in 2013 Tom joined the team at the Tacoma Dome in Washington as the Booking Manager. With the Pacific Northwest being his favorite spot in the country, he has firmly dug his heels in and plans to help continue a revenue growth trend while booking meaningful and exciting content.

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Thornton Tomasetti

Tom Scarangello leads the strategic direction and oversight of the firm while also being highly engaged with clients, projects and staff development. He has more than 35 years of experience in the structural engineering of a wide variety of building types, with a focus on sports, entertainment, and public assembly venues. Tom has also led Thornton Tomasetti into the forefront of project delivery services and engineering technologies for building analysis, design and construction. When he became chairman in 2008, he oversaw the development of the firm’s strategic plan for growth and innovation in areas such as building information modeling and integrated project delivery. Since the 2015 merger with Weidlinger Associates, Tom has championed the expansion of the Protective Design practice into a provider of a broad suite of security services. Tom was elected chairman of the New York Building Congress, 2014-2016. He is active in numerous philanthropies and serves as a trustee of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Senior Director of Sales and Promotions, Columbus Arena Sports & Entertainment

Tracy Hedrick is a global marketing industry leader with over 19 years of experience in artist management and promoting live events from concerts to family shows in arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums. She is the Senior Director of Sales and Promotions for the Schottenstein Center and Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Tracy started her career at Polaris (Germain) Amphitheater in 1998 and was a Regional Marketing Director for Live Nation until she left for the Dominican Republic in 2010. She served on the executive committee to open the first all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Latin America. As a Hard Rock brand ambassador, she mentored staff (3,000+ employees) and directors, as well as marketed the 121 acre property to guests.

She is a worldwide touring executive overseeing Yanni’s marketing strategies for concerts in over 25 countries during the past five years.

CEO and Founder, Etix

Travis founded Etix in 2000 based on the belief that venues could and should control their own destiny. Travis is a founder and developer of technology and telecommunications service enterprises and graduated with degrees in economics and statistics from North Carolina State University. An active supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the organization named Travis 2010 Man of the Year for raising more than $100,000.

Executive Director, Chesapeake Conference Center

Troy Thorn serves as Executive Director of the Chesapeake Conference Center, a venue professionally managed by VenuWorks.  Before moving to Coastal Virginia, Thorn served as Executive Director of the Vicksburg (MS) Convention Center & Auditorium and Assistant Director of the Dallas (TX) Convention Center.  With over 20 years as a venue manager, Thorn has chaired a number of IAVM committees and served as Region 6 Director.  A graduate of VMS and the Graduate Institute, Thorn attributes an early introduction to IAVM through Frank Poe and Mina Boyd as a key element of his successful career.

Hoya Blue to his core, Thorn has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University and attended the University of Texas at Arlington graduate School of Urban Planning and Administration.

When not volunteering with youth in the community Thorn serves as a member of the Hampton Roads Chamber - Chesapeake Board, Chesapeake Tourism Advisory Board and Tidewater Community College Business Management Advisory Committee.

Vice President of Operations, Walton Arts Center/Walmart AMP

Wendy Riggs has 38 years of arts and venue management, marketing, consulting and teaching experience from arts and cultural institutions including the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, True Colors Theater Company, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Walt Disney World. She is currently serving as Vice President of Operations at the Walton Arts Center and Walmart Amp where she oversees all operational departments including production, front of house and events, and maintenance and housekeeping,

Prior to her current job Riggs served as Director of Arts and Entertainment where she oversaw daily operations, for the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, Tuscaloosa River Market and Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum for the City of Tuscaloosa. She has a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a master’s degree from the University of Alabama. She also served as a professor at the University of Alabama where she taught Arts Venue Management and developed a Master’s program in Arts Administration for SCAD, Savannah College of Arts and Design in Atlanta.

Associate Vice President, Business Advancement, Ohio State University

With 35 years of experience in the live event and facility management industry, Xen Riggs has provided management oversight of multiple facilities and operations including four arenas, six theaters,  student unions, recreation complexes, campus dining services, movie theatres, hotels and conference centers.  

Currently Xen’s titles at The Ohio State University (OSU) include Associate Vice-President of Business Advancement, Associate Vice-President of Student Life, and Executive Associate Athletic Director.  He is also COO for Columbus Arena Management (CAM) and President of Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment (CASE), where he is the senior officer in charge of joint management for the Jerome Schottenstein Center and Nationwide Arena - both 20,000-seat multipurpose arenas in Columbus, Ohio.  He serves on several Boards including the Executive Committee for the Arena Network.

In Xen’s various positions at OSU, he oversees multiple campus facilities and new program development.  As Associate Vice-President of Business Advancement, Xen supervises the Schottenstein Center, the Blackwell Inn, Drake Performance and Event Center, Fawcett Conference and Event Center,  and Strategic Business Advancement which includes Trademark and Licensing and university-wide Affinity Agreements and Sponsorships.

Assistant General Manager, SMG Jacksonville

As the Assistant General Manager and Arena Director for SMG Jacksonville, Zane is responsible for the six city owned venues; EverBank Field, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center and Ritz Theatre & Museum. His primary focus and oversight is on booking, programming, event development, the five sports tenants, the box office department, event management, client relations and overall customer experience.

In addition to his SMG Jacksonville duties, Zane serves as the SMG Southeast Regional Booking Director to assist Jim McCue and John Bolton to drive concerts and other programming into the SMG venues in the southeastern United States.

Prior to Jacksonville, he spent seven years in Pennsylvania as a Regional General Manager for SMG with duties that included day to day operations, booking and marketing of the Santander Arena, Performing Arts Center and the Reading Royals hockey team of the ECHL. Zane’s regional oversight included the Canton Civic Center, Akron Civic Theatre, Cambria County Memorial Arena and Ebensburg Ice Rink.

Zane spent three years in Saginaw, MI as the General Manager of the Dow Event Center, two years as the Director of Operations of the Sovereign Center & Performing Arts Center in Reading, PA and two years in Connecticut as the Director of Operations of the New Haven Coliseum. As a member of the IAVM, he is part of the Arena Sector Committee and Industry Affairs Council. He enjoys spending time with his wife Kathy of 23 years and two children, Charles (17) and Emily (11), plus playing golf, hockey and racquetball.

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